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We'll have full coverage from New York of the Automotive X Prize's new details in a few hours, but CNN has just announced that the total prize purse will be ten million dollars. That's the same as what was given for winning the Ansari X Prize, which sent private citizens into space. The title sponsor for the green car event will be Progressive Casualty Insurance Co., according to the AP. The ten million dollars will be split between the winners of the different Auto X Prize categories, one each for mainstream and alternative cars. The "mainstream cars" look normal (four wheels, at least) need to have room for at least four people with standard vehicle features (climate control, audio system and at least 10 cubic feet of cargo space) while hitting 60 mph in under 12 seconds. The last two requirements will be the toughest: 100 mph top speed with a 200 mile range. We'll have more later on what I now assume will be called the Progressive X Prize.
[Source: CNN, AP]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      The rules for this X Prize exist in draft form, but with the sponsor found, they now need to be finalized asap.

      For example, the draft requires a minimum of 100 miles per US gallon of gasoline equivalent because that's easy to explain to the layman. They then go on to explain that what they really mean 100 miles (161km) on no more than 116,090 BTU (122.5 MJ) of energy of any form that the vehicle operator must pay for. See the following document p12f plus the spreadsheet it is linked to.


      The fact that it take a lot more primary energy to produce that amount in the form of electricity than in the form of gasoline is reflected in the well-to-wheels calculation of GHG emissions, which are limited to 200g/mi CO2e. The well-to-pump/plug portion is estimated using the DOE-Argonne GREET model.

      Note that the configurations provided in the spreadsheet are only hypothetical examples that happen to meet the competition's criteria. For example, their imaginary gasoline PHEV gets 67 miles on a gallon of gasoline while their equally imaginary diesel PHEV manages only 60 miles on a gallon of diesel, even though the latter fuel contains 15% more energy per gallon. Both numbers assume the electric drive portion is not active at that time. A mode in which both liquid fuel and grid electricity are consumed at the same time is not explicitly modeled.

      Note that the contest rules don't explicitly require proof that a battery pack has to have a life expectancy of 10 years or 150,000 miles, whichever is greater. If an ICE is present, EPA and CARB consider batteries to be emissions control equipment that has to last for the full expected life of the vehicle.

      The X prize does require that the vehicle must be cost-effective to produce in a batch of 10,000 units, based on the target market specified in the business plan. Perhaps the judges will flunk competitors who deep-discharge their battery packs because they'd never get type approval for a production model, but it would be better to make that explicit.


      The fuel prices - even the relative price ratios - in the spreadsheet are best ignored. For example, it asserts that the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline costs a whopping $6.78 in the form of CNG (presumably compressed to 250 bar). For reference, at average 2007 retail prices according to EIA, 116090 BTU of natural gas at ambient pressure actually cost $1.58.
      Moreover, according to the spreadsheet, 116090BTU in the form of CH2G (specified as steam reformed from NG, presumably compressed to 700 bar) only cost $1.61. Even liquid hydrogen is supposedly cheaper than gasoline at energy parity, while electricity is more expensive. Common sense suggest all this must be complete and utter nonsense.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Is crash-worthyness a requirement? If the car folds like a lawnchair or lacks airbags how can it be "production-ready"?
      • 7 Years Ago
      I like how the made a category for unconventional vehicles; read : never allowed on roads so forget it but someone's friend was making one so we made him a category.

      • 7 Years Ago
      @Sebastian Blanco
      You forgot the 200g/mi CO2e as mentioned rgseidl.

      Yeah, the numbers for the CNG is pretty doubtful. There are plenty of CNG vehicles around and I can't imagine they would use them if it costs $6.78 for the energy eq of 1 gallon of gas. Unless of course the efficiency is high enough to offset the cost; but that's not the case. And I don't see how it's possible for the PHEV to magically cost almost half as much as either the gasoline ICE and the BEV when it uses a mix of both sources. So overall, I'm not sure what those prices actually refer to.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It was interesting to look over the list of competitors, and note the advantages and disadvantages of each. They range from dreamers and amateurs up to new car companies with professional engineers.

      Some are going to fall by the wayside for failing to meet performance standards or safety standards. (Yes, they have to be street legal and meet safety standards) Some won't have a decent business production plan. Some won't complete the road rally due to breakdowns.

      But enough will jump all the hurdles and reach the finish line to make for an exciting competition. Judging won't be easy!

      Some of the "loosers" may do well enough to be able to sell their patents to a major company for a good price.